It’s been twenty-one weeks since I moved four-hundred-and-one-miles from a housing scheme in Glasgow to the rural confines of sleepy Suffolk, yet despite the knuckle-biting relocation not much has really changed:
For instance, I am still the same prison-drama-obsessed, rom-com-watching supergay weirdo (even though I have exhausted all the cutesy lesbian feel-good movies and the new episodes of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and ‘Wentworth’); and the only reason I recently took a break from episode two-hundred-and-seventy-seven of ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’ was because I’d become hooked on ‘Misfits’, a sci-fi comedy about a group of young offenders who acquire superpowers.
Weeks after I arrived in Sudbury I joined a gym and I took up running again (nine point five miles is the furthest I’ve gone this year) but only on the treadmill; I also enrolled in wado-ryu karate and six weeks later notched up a first class pass that enabled me to acquire my *cough* white belt.
My writing continued as always: I finally finished a manuscript that I started nearly a decade ago, and I twice received a hundred percent scores for assignments three and four of the long distance crime fiction writing course I started in September; I also read an Agatha Christie novel for the first time, and set my new vegan-lesbian-detective-parody novella in Sudbury – ideas are also brewing for a London-based follow-up story.
I had high hopes that I would join a local writing group and go into London more often. However, there was no local writing group (although I believe there will be one starting in January for the over-fifty-fives), and commuting on the train was trickier and more costly than I’d anticipated (particularly since Antonia has had to travel with me so that I don’t get lost).
My parents came to visit in October and then Sophie followed for eight days in November. And although we’ve had a few good trips around East Anglia and a lot of nice meals in various eateries (some exclusively vegetarian, some not) it’s not the same as seeing them on your own familiar soil.
So I’m going back to Scotland on Monday. And it’s slightly daunting. I’ve had to seriously cut back on christmas presents and clothes to wear because I can’t fit everything in my suitcase – and no way am I leaving my hair straighteners behind! There’s also the lone train ride from London Euston to Glasgow where I just know I’m going to lose my seat when I go to the toilet because I can’t remember the way back to it – and also, what happens to my suitcase if I go for a pee?! (Antonia and I decided I should go home alone this christmas but she’s travelling with me half way)
I’m looking forward to it, of course: the jaunt back to Renfrew for Tofurkey Roast with my family; seeing my friends, Sophie, Nicola and Fiona aka The Original Mixed Bean (whose house I am staying at for most of the trip); and I can’t wait to darken the doors of my old haunt ‘The Thirteenth Note’ because I’m desperate for a bowl of chips with rosemary salt and a soya rum’n’raisin hot chocolate.